February 23, 2024

Coronation in Great Britain: The Pope gives precious relics to King Charles II

Fragments of the Holy Cross
The Pope gives Charles precious relics for his coronation

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Charles was crowned king at the beginning of May. At the ceremony, Pope Francis gave the Briton two small fragments of the Holy Cross. The parts have already been combined into the Welsh Cross.

For his coronation, he receives King Charles III. A special gift from Pope Francis. The Pope gave the British monarch, head of the Anglican Church, two fragments of the Holy Cross on which, according to the Bible, Jesus was once crucified. The relics are incorporated into the Welsh Cross, which will lead the coronation procession at the coronation ceremony on 6 May. British Archbishop Andrew John is due to bless the cross at a Mass in the north Wales town of Llandudno today. Then he will be transferred to London.

The pieces are one centimeter and five millimeters in size respectively, and each has the shape of a cross. It is set in a larger silver cross behind a pink crystal gemstone so that it can only be seen up close. The King – who held the title of Prince of Wales until he ascended the throne – presented the cross to the Church of Wales on its 100th birthday. He himself placed a tiger's head on it as a royal symbol in November 2022.

The Welsh Cross with fragments of the Holy Cross is intended to lead the coronation ceremony.

The Welsh Cross with fragments of the Holy Cross is intended to lead the coronation ceremony.

(Photo: Picture Alliance/DPA/PA Media).

After the coronation, the cross will be used in Wales by the Anglican and Catholic churches. It is made from recycled silver bullion supplied by the Royal Mint of South Wales. This also includes a post made of Welsh cut wood and a stand made of Welsh slate. Engraved on the back are words from St David's Last Sermon in Welsh: “Byddwch Lawn. Cadwch y ffydd. Gwnewch y Pethau Bychain” – in English: “Be Happy. Keep the Faith. Do the Little Things.”

Archbishop John was honored with the gift of a cross. “Its design reflects our Christian faith, heritage, resources and commitment to sustainability,” he said. “We are also pleased that its first use will be to lead Their Majesties at the coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey.”

(This article was first published on Wednesday, April 19, 2023.)

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